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March 6, 1998     The Message
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6 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Pastoral Associate Transfiguration of Jesus: Suffering and glory By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for March 8, 1998: Second Sunday Of Lent: Cycle C: Luke 9:28b-36 Jesus' transfiguration, his being revealed in a glo- rified or post-resurrection condition, is closely con- nected by Luke, Mark, and Matthew, with the imme- diately preceding teachings. Those teachings in turn follow immediately upon Jesus' prediction of his suf- fering, death, and resurrection. In these teachings the gospels first comment on the suffering and death of Jesus, then on his resurrection. Their comments: all those who wish to follow Jesus must deny them- selves and take up their daily cross. Those who in this way lose their own life, will actually save their lives. There is no advantage in gaining even the whole world, yet losing oneself. Those ashamed of Jesus and his teachings will be treated with shame when Jesus returns in glory. These are the comments or details added by the authors of the gospels to explain how Jesus' suffering and death are appropri- ated by individual Christians. They have yet to com- ment on Jesus' prediction of his resurrection. The story of the transfiguration of Jesus serves that pur- pose. Briefly, Jesus takes Peter, John, and James, with him up the mountain to pray. During his prayer his outward appearance was changed. His clothes became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. The three men talk about J.esus coming "exodus" to be accomplished in Jerusalem. The three disciples were groggy with sleep. They woke up and saw the three in glory, just as Moses and Elijah were taking their leave. Peter, never at a loss for words, suggests to Jesus that the disciples put up three tents to house their glory. Luke adds that Peter did.n't know what he was saying. There is a voice from heaven, "This is my Son, my Chosen One, listen to him!" Suddenly Jesus was alone, no longer in glory. The disciples tell no one of this vision. We have three versions of the story. As usual, Mark is thought to be the original of the three. Matthew and Luke make their changes to express their teachings. Let us examine Luke's alterations in the Marcan story. Mark notes that the transfiguration happened after six days. Luke writes, "after eight days," which may be no more than saying, "about a week later." However, since Peter will later speak of putting up three tents, Luke may intend an allusion to the rather wild joy of the Jewish harvest feast called "the Feast of Booths," called in the Greek ver- sion of the Old Testament, "the Feast of Tents." Notable is Luke's insertion of Jesus' prayer before the transfiguration. In contrast to Mark, in Luke's gospel Jesus always prays before any important event in his life. Obviously Luke teaches that prayer is an impor- tant part of Christian life. Only Luke speaks of the subject of conversation between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. They discussed Jesus' "exodus" which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. This term refers to Jesus' suffering and death. Reference to these events within the glory of the transfiguration is a clear lesson that glory comes only through the cross. Recall that just before the transfiguration, Jesus insisted on the neces- sity of taking up the cross daily to follow him. The term "exodus" also reminds readers that Jesus relives the history of his people. As they were cleansed in their exodus from Egypt by long years of suffering, so Jesus and every Christian come to glory through suf- fering. Luke repeats Mark's statement that Peter spoke incoherently, but typically softens this disparaging remark by adding that the three disciples "were heavy with sleep but kept awake." Later in the gospel he will excuse all the disciples' unbelief after the res- urrection. It was "because of their joy," which makes i :: i i little sense, but is at least some excuse; The from heaven in Luke adds to "This is ray words, "My Chosen One." As the above made a clear connection glory, so does this title applied to from Isaiah 42: 1, the first of four poems the persecution, death, suffering servant or prophet of gospels, and Paul, use these describe the sufferings and eventual Only Luke adds this title at the Jesus. Only Luke will have the of the cross refer to Jesus in Chosen One." The connectk glory is again affirmed by Luke cial emphases, his catechism. With Mark and Matthew, teachings. Most important is the intimate between cross and glory, that no to come to glory with Jesus without cross. The transfiguration is a promise of The reference to putting up tents to of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and the disciples by the cloud, hint at the of Jesus. During the exodus of t the glory or presence of Yahweh "Tent of Meeting," and it was in this with Yahweh for consultation. Just as tism, so at his transfiguration, the voice affirms his special relationship The words "Listen to him," refer 18:16, where Moses tells the Israelites will raise up a prophet like himself themselves to whom they must listen. prophetic, divine voice. Such is the transfiguration of Jesus on this .... Lent. Readings for 2nd Sunday 12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Coordinator of Youth Ministry The Catholic Ministry Center in Tell City, Indiana is seeking an energetic, enthusiastic individual with strong communication and organizational skills to be an integral member of the pastoral team. Responsibilities for this full-time position include planning, implementing and overseeing ministry programs for 6th grade through young adults. Individual must relate well to both youth and adults. Minimum of three years experience and some certificate training in youth ministry preferred. Send resume and letter by April 1 to: Youth Minish'y Search Committee, Catholic Ministry Center, 802 Ninth St., Tell City, IN 47586 or call (812) 547-7994 for more information. AUTO RATES INCREASING? TEENAGE DRIVERS? Call us today for discounts Good student discounts Auto/Home discounts Good Driver discounts HELFRICH  Insurance Agency 464-5993 Director of Education Ope oENNi: Mater St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, a racially and academically diverse parish located in Indianapolis, is seeking a Pastoral Associate .to share in pastoral care, participate in ministerial life, and exercise pastoral leadership. Major responsibilities and activities will be in the areas of spiritual life, administration, social concerns, religious education and faith formation, and family life. This person will also be the main contact for the areas of development and the Legacy of Hope campaign for the parish. All candidates must possess a Bachelor's degree in Theological Studies or comparable pastoral degree. Other requirements include excellent communication and interpersonal skills, skill in working with a variety of personality types, and ability to participate in shared ministry with the pastor. Previous experience preferred. We offer competitive compensation and excellent benefits including health insurance and a pension plan. Please send cover letter, resume and salary history to: Rev. William Munshower, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, 4625 N. Kenwood Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208. Holy Redeemer Parish (Ev is accepting applications of Di Education serving both our K--8 Religious Education Program. The Education Program includes schoolers, and students in grades Application deadline April 1. Obtain applications and Ministry Description and/or submit r6sum6 at the: Holy Redeemer Parish Office 918 W. Mill Road, Evansville, IN 47710 Phone (812) 424-8344 c A T H